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Old Adobe - White Winged Doves By Robert Bateman

By Robert Bateman

Old Adobe - White Winged Doves by Robert Bateman

We visited this old fort and monastery in the Big Bend country of Texas on a birding expedition a few years ago. These old Spanish buildings of the Southwest combine elegance and earthiness in a way I find very satisfying. Built of adobe and other local materials that the Pueblo Indians have used for thousands of years, they are classically balanced, harmonious, and restrained. New buildings don’t often appeal to me as subjects, but I enjoy painting older ones, which have become weathered and worn in ways that tell each building’s story. Here, for instance, you can see at the top of the door a place where a leak in the roof may have been patched years ago. Doves, which are thought of as peaceful and rather domestic birds, seemed to me appropriate for this setting. These white-winged doves are typical of this countryside around the Mexican border. I wanted this painting to be essentially a series of flat planes viewed from different distances and different angles. Apart from the one low wall, I wasn’t showing the tops and bottoms of the planes, and I had to give the viewer the information needed to understand what they are, by conveying texture and light. One of the solutions was to recreate a spider’s web pattern of cracks in the adobe, which then is foreshortened when seen from an angle. - Robert Bateman

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